HOUSTON -- She's known as the "Enchilada Queen of Houston,” but in a flash, restaurant owner Sylvia Casares became a gunshot victim.
The accused shooter was a man she had hired and dated.
"The moment the gun went off did you know what was happening?” asked KHOU 11 News’ Len Cannon.
“Only until I heard the gun explode and I felt the pain, that's when I realized what had happened," said Sylvia Casares.
It happened on a Monday night in March of 2012.
Sylvia Casares was sitting in her car in her driveway with her ex-boyfriend on a Monday night in March of 2012.
She says he then suddenly shot her in the stomach.
"Well the first thing I said to him was ‘oh my God.’ Why did you shoot me? And that was it,” said Casares.
When asked if he said anything to her, she shook her head no.
It was an unbelievable turn of events for the woman dubbed the “Enchilada Queen of Houston.” She owns two restaurants in the area. The menu at Sylvia's Kitchen is filled with the Tex-Mex food she grew up loving in her hometown of Brownsville.
On that frightening night, Casares says she crawled from her car to her home, called for help, and waited for 25 minutes.
"It's survival. That's all it is. You want to survive. You want to live. I wasn't ready for my life to be over," she said. “I thought about my kids… thought about my life. It's an amazing experience. It is a life altering experience."
The man she says pulled the trigger is Michael Warren.
Investigators say Warren took off in Sylvia's car, but was arrested several days later at a motel in Rosenberg. No weapon was found.
Warren has pleaded not guilty to aggravated assault, and is out on bond.
Sylvia spent months recovering, but returned to her restaurants full-time last September.
If her case goes to trial, Syliva says she will testify.